From face masks to frozen yogurt: 9 things sold in airport vending machines
As air travel slowly starts to grow during the coronavirus pandemic, the folks at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport want flyers to be ready. It became the first airport in the U.S. to install vending machines that sell personal protection equipment (PPE), including the highly coveted N95 mask ($8.25), a 10-pack of alcohol wipes ($5.25), a four-pack of disposable gloves ($4.50), hand sanitizer ($4.25-$6.50), tissues ($3.50), a reusable cloth mask ($14.50) and a 3-pack of disposable masks ($7.50).
However, N95 masks are not the only things being sold in airports these days. Below, we look at nine other items you can by on the fly before you take off.
After landing, you reach for your cell phone and realize in horror that it isn’t there. You’re going to be gone for awhile and you need to stay in touch. Straight Talk offers vending machines that sell the latest pre-paid cell phones and sim cards at six airports, including JFK Terminal 2, along with the Amtrak station in Chicago.
Many times we aren’t in city long enough to buy souvenirs. Or maybe you did buy them, but forgot one for a friend or family member. Either way, you’d rather not shop at some generic news store at the airport. SouveNear has vending machines in six U.S. airports that sell a curated selection of locally sourced, artist-made objects, including flair pins jewelry, t-shirts, teas, spices and gourmet food and fun stuff for the kids.
This company was founded by Jasmin Smith in 2015 after being caught without diapers for her twin babies in an Anchorage, Alaska, shopping mall. She created and opened a vending machine at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) in 2019. Supplies available include diaper bag, including diapers, wipes, a nose suction device, pacifiers, thermometers and teething rings.
Related reading: Airport Vending Machines for All Your Baby Care Needs
Cell phone chargers
FuelRod’s mobile charging station offers rechargeable FuelRods that power up Apple or Android smartphones and tablets from a vending machine. Each FuelRod kit comes with cables for recent Apple and Android devices. Used FuelRods can be exchanged for fully charged replacements at any kiosk or SwapBox, either for a modest fee or recharged via USB using the kit’s cables. The chargers can deliver up to eight hours of additional talk time on the average smart phone, or nearly four more hours of usage on tablets — all for between $22 and $30, depending on the location.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a local legend when it comes time to get a scoop in Columbus, Ohio. If you didn’t get a chance to sample it during your time in Ohio’s capital city, don’t worry! You can get your fix at two Jeni’s vending machines at John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CHM) — one each in Concourses A and B. You have your choice of single-serve, grab-and-go ice cream cups or a rotating selection of our ice cream sandwiches.
Best Buy Express vending machines are in approximately 200 locations nationwide, with about 80 percent of them inside airports. They sell a range of products, including Bose headphones, Apple AirPods, GoPros, cell phone chargers and portable speakers, among other things.
San Franciso-based Benefit Cosmetics has beauty vending machines in more than 30 airports. The vending machine, in the shape of a pink bus, offers its most popular products, including mascara, lipstick, custom powder, face balm, blushes and pore cream.
You’ve rushed to the airport to see a loved one and realize you want to give them flowers. Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (LAS) and Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) are among those who have flower vending machines that can help.
Featured photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images